The Fall of Meatball’s Thrall
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“This is all my fault!” the incorporeal knight, Tim Cognito’s voice echoed around their helmet as they held their harpoon aloft, taking aim at the glowing red ruby embedded in the noggin of the Jabberducky.
The giant duck quacked menacingly as it tried to shake Tim from atop his head. The Jabberducky - a former political tyrant known as the Jabberwonky - was bent on destroying everything in his path.
“This probably isn’t the right time to say this,” Eric, Tim’s companion, cried as he pulled Matilda out of the direct path of the continuing pecks of the fowl’s foul plow.
“I’ll say it for you,” yelled Matilda, “but YES this IS all your fault.”
Tim clutched onto the feathers tighter and cried, “there must be a way to fix this!”
“There is!” a familiar voice coughed out from below, “if you buy me some time.”
Could it be? Tim could scarcely believe it, but they knew the voice belonged to Lady Kackel, the local necromancer. She’d been incapacitated from the harbinger explosion when the Jabberwonky transformed into the giant duck.
The knight became giddy, almost nauseated as though a creature fluttered in their stomach (separate to the scampering of the huntscrabby who was hiding within Tim’s armour).
“Kackel!” Tim attempted to stow away the true nature of their excitement, all the while gripping onto the Jabberducky for dear life, “it’s great to see you. I mean, not that I missed you or anything-”
“Quack!” the Jabberducky interrupted, though Tim took little notice as they continued.
“Not that I didn’t miss you, just that I-”
“Shut up and listen you big tin-can-poop!” the magical Kackel said, folding her arms before her in her signature stance of annoyance.
“Yes! It’s important!” Misery chimed in.
“Just say it already!” demanded Matilda with great exasperation. Her patience for ducking and weaving to escape the Duck-thing’s heaving was wearing thin.
“Just stay still Matilda, this might tickle!” Kackel said as her hair burst into blue flames.
Kackel began to recite an incantation.
“Speak a lot or just do little! Tongues unknot, Animalia Transmittle!”.
Chapter 11: The Fall of Meatball’s Thrall
If you want to know more about something mentioned in the story (e.g. a creature, place or person) go to the Lore of the Land:
If you want information about our hero’s characteristics and inventory at the start of this chapter go here and scroll to the relevant chapter:
The blue threads of Kackel’s magic encircled Matilda a dozen times at lightning speed before they quickly zipped into her open mouth.
“What’s the big idea?” Matilda attempted to say, but instead of words coming forth she instead bleated like a goat.
“Baa, baa, baa!” Matilda bleated toward Kackel, unable to deliver the expletives she wished to.
“Ummm, are you alright?” Eric asked while deftly ducking to avoid the… well, duck.
“Squawk, squawk, squawk!” Matilda squawked, confused and concerned.
“Whatever you’ve done to her, it seems like it worked!” Tim cried from their high vantage, “now let’s hop to it. Matilda, your scroll!”
Matilda twigged. She readied her rosetta-stone tongue and unfurled the magic scroll, once more and cleared her throat.
“Start quacking your bags!” Misery jibed.
“WOOF WOOF WOOF!” Matilda interjected in Alsatian.
The red gem on the Jabberducky’s head continued to glow. He was still under Meatball’s influence, stomping his webbed feet and pecking toward the group ferociously.
“Try again!” Kackel coughed weakly.
“Mooo Mooo Mooo!” cried Matilda with a Jersey inflection.
“That’s no good!” Tim called out being flung from left to right with all the duck’s might, “you’ve got to get quacky and make it snappy!”
“Rwrrr Roaaar!” Matilda growled at Tim, the Knight clearly didn’t understand the complexities of suddenly being able to comprehend every dialect within the animal kingdom all at once.
“Try again!” Tim insisted, they were losing their grip on their high perch as the Jabberduck pounded the ground.
“Ooo Ooo, Ahhh Ahh!” came Matilda’s reply as she evaded the duck’s stomps, as irate as a primate.
“This is driving me bananas,” Misery rolled her eyes before adopting a more serious tone “Whether a story, song or ballad, let this girl speak in mallard!”
The golden sparks of Misery’s magic surrounded Matilda, who straightened up with newfound confidence. The giant duck turned towards her as she gaggled out the spell.
“Quack, Qu-Quack, Quack, Quack, QUAAAACCK!”
With one last glow, so bright it illuminated the clouds above them in red, the ruby’s light snapped off with a quiet ping. The stampeding duck was stuck, frozen in place.
“Tim now is your chance!” Eric cried out.
“Squeak!” The Huntscrabby emerged from Tim’s armour and punched the air with a claw. Matilda turned swiftly toward the arachnid-crab.
“Quack?” she asked, recognition in her voice.
No longer contending with the Jabberducky’s jerky movements, Tim stood tall and with a satisfyingly swift movement plunged the harpoon bodily into the ruby. It shattered into shards which clattered outward in an extraordinary and powerful detonation.
The creature was for a second time exploded, however this time in a cloud of crimson red flinging Tim a great distance away.
Matilda’s practical animal grammaticals are admirable but, as far as we know, casual, do we want her to continue speaking animal in some form?
Tim lay in a heap. Literally.
Their armour had separated and segregated on the few remaining cobblestones. The knight’s feet were now atop their helmet. Tim’s shamble of a corporeal form had been thrown about in a terrible scission.
Through the red fog, the knight could just make out the cloudy silhouette of the giant coming back into being, its shape once again resembling that of the Jabberwonky who had originally come to terrorise the town of Spaghettians. But something was different about how it held itself now.
The Jabberwonky sat with its legs stretched out. It tilted its long neck from left to right, flailing it backwards at regular intervals. As it did so the smoke would weave silkily around the movements before dissipating. Was the Jabberwonky crying?
That’s when Tim heard the wails and when the smoke vanished they could clearly see and hear the hulking beast crying loudly wiping its tears away by craning its neck towards its insufficiently-lengthened arms.
“Poor guy!” a familiar voice from behind the knight said, it was Eric, “didn’t want to commit any of those atrocities, of course.”
“Of course, but at least now he can start getting on with his life,” the shrill drill of Misery’s voice pierced Tim’s senses.
“Quack!” said Matilda.
“Oh, let me get that for you!” the still pained voice of Kackel offered, “Take some flack, take it back, with this whack, no more quacks!”
Tim then heard a loud slapping sound, shortly after which Matilda’s voice re-emerged.
“OUUUUCCCH… thanks, I suppose.”
Then the legs of the different members of Tim’s party came into view, each stopping in place upon seeing Tim.
“Good job there Tim!” Eric imparted.
“Thanks, and though I’d like to discuss the accrued karma points, I’m missing all my armour joints,” Tim was quite cheerful for someone who’d literally gone to pieces.
“We’re not helping you with that!” Matilda said.
“Squeak!” said the huntscrabby on her shoulder.
“That’s right, Socrates,” she said, shocking Tim who hadn’t known the name of their insectoid companion, “that job is for a certain someone.”
They all walked towards the Jabberwonky, leaving Tim by themselves. Or so they thought.
“Looks like it’s my turn to rescue you after an explosion!” Kackel said kneeling down in front of the knight as they worked to reconnect various fragments of Tim’s armour.
“Looks like it…” Tim started as she screwed the gauntlets to the knight’s arms. “Look I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the catacombs and why I came here!”
“You acted like a jerk,” her neck reddened. She paused, inspecting the boots she had just affixed to the ends of each shin plate, “keeping secrets like that, it’s no good!”
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t say! Not that that’s an excuse but…”
Kackel swapped the boots around as they were on the wrong legs.
“You’re right, it’s not an excuse. You lead me up the garden path, there I was gliding through cloud nine and you pulled the rug out from under me and now… the ship has sailed!”
“That’s a lot of mixed metaphors…” Tim said.
“I fell in love with you,” Kackel admitted, holding back her tears.
“I know,” The knight said, downcast as their helmet was fixed to their torso, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry… be better!” Kackel said, her hair momentarily flaming blue as they hoisted Tim’s helmet and affixed it in its place, the suit of armour complete.
“Speaking of being better, let’s go see what this creature has to say for themselves!”
Lady Kackel? More like Lady Catch-el, as in ‘what a’! (Okay, even I think this one is bad). Tim surely hurt the necromancer with their callous actions and devious secrecy. Due to previous votes, we know the decomposition magician won’t be following Tim on the next leg of the journey… so what will she be doing?
Well, there goes that duck and with it the threat of violence that has held the Spaghettians in fear for generations. It looks like Tim’s business in the municipal township is over too. Onwards and upwards though, the next chapter will be dealing with the fallout of what has happened and the preparations for our next great adventure. Don’t miss the next exciting edition of Ba BAAA ba BAAAAAA Misadventure Adventure.
Remember you can pitch new areas, creatures, characters, and items/spells in the existing threads and see them get added to the Lore of the Land encyclopedia.
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